DUBAI: A rare bronze dagger dating back almost 3,000 years has gone on show at the Louvre Abu Dhabi as part of the museum’s “Rulers and Warriors: The Age of Heroes” exhibit.
The sophisticated, slightly curved dagger is on loan from Dubai Municipality and was excavated from Saruq Al-Hadid in southern Dubai, widely viewed as one of the Arab world’s most significant Iron Age archaeological sites following its discovery in 2002.
Archaeologists believe the dagger was an “object of prestige,” Noemi Dauce, the museum’s chief curator of archaeology, told Arab News.
“What we are trying to highlight is how weapons become attributes of power. Instead of creating a simple shape for the weapons — just a blade that would be enough to harm anybody — some of these weapons, like this dagger, would actually have rich decoration,” she said.
Dauce points to the dagger’s remarkable handle, which is topped off with a design featuring an attacking lion — a telling detail that may indicate that the weapon’s owner was a ruler or military leader.
“In a lot of cultures and civilizations, the lion is, of course, a wild and ferocious animal and is very commonly associated with power.” she said.
The dagger is displayed in a glass case alongside ancient military artefacts from Iran, Greece and the Caucasus — an approach that aims to foster cross-cultural narratives in the museum.
An axe blade from the mountains of Lorestan in Iran and a bronze sword with a decorated hilt that was found in France form part of the exhibition.
“The ambition of the Louvre Abu Dhabi is to be a universal museum,” Dauce said. “We try to highlight the long history of the UAE, but also the way it fits into the larger picture of humanity.”